Adam Shinder/Recorder staff Amsterdam High School baseball coach Brian Spagnola, center, talks with catcher Anthony Noce, left, and pitcher Kyle Sherlock between innings of Friday's game against Troy at Fulton-Montgomery Community College.
Adam Shinder/Recorder staff Amsterdam's Kyle Sherlock delivers a warmup pitch prior to Friday's game against Troy at Fulton-Montgomery Community College.
Adam Shinder/Recorder staff Amsterdam's Brady McGillin, left, and Tony Isabel watch from the dugout during Friday's game against Troy at Fulton-Montgomery Community College.
By ADAM SHINDER
JOHNSTOWN -- The Amsterdam High School baseball team's first game at its home away from home for the early portion of the 2014 didn't go quite how the Rams were planning.
Playing at Fulton-Montgomery Community College for the first time while artificial turf is laid down on their home field at Shuttleworth Park, the Rams had opportunities to break through Friday against the Troy Flying Horses, but left 11 men on base -- including seven over the final three innings -- and were unable to muster a sustained rally against Troy starting pitcher Michael Yamin in a 7-2 setback.
"We've got to get a little tougher, and that's what I told them," Amsterdam coach Brian Spagnola said. "We certainly have some ability, but we have to be better on the mound and certainly get some big hits. I certainly feel we have the ability to be a good team at the end of the year, for sure."
Coming off Monday's 10-1 loss to Christian Brothers Academy in their season opener, the Rams fell into an immediate hole Friday as the Flying Horses put up three runs in the top of the first inning against Amsterdam sophomore lefthander Kyle Sherlock.
Amsterdam answered back with two runs of its own in the bottom of the first on an RBI double from Kolbie Glionna and a run-scoring error off the bat of Eric Robertshaw, but couldn't muster anything else against Yamin, who needed 131 pitches to toss a seven-hitter with five strikeouts and six walks.
"We just need to start getting the bigger hits," said Amsterdam outfielder Jared Gallup, who went 3 for 3 at the plate and added a stolen base. "We're getting guys on, we're doing everything, we're just not finishing."
In addition to Jared Gallup's three hits, Julian Gallup, Brett Flint, Glionna and Robertshaw added base hits for the Rams (0-2). Making his first varsity start, Sherlock allowed six runs on six hits over 4 1-3 innings.
Though the sophomore lefty was uneven at the start -- his game started with a walk, a hit batter, two singles and a double while recording just one out against the first six batters he faced -- Spagnola said Sherlock grew more confident as the game wore on and showed plenty of potential.
"Being a sophomore, I had a feeling there would be some nerves there," Spagnola said. "But, he settled down. I thought he threw good. For a 10th grader, going up against a team that can swing the bat a little bit, I thought he threw well. I'm excited about his future."
Up 3-2 early, Troy added a run in the third on a Connor McGrath RBI single that flared just inches over the glove of a leaping Robertshaw at first base. Two more runs came across on an error and a passed ball in the fifth after Sherlock had been chased in favor of Flint, who was also touched for a Yamin RBI double in the sixth.
The Rams began to wear down Yamin as the game wore on, forcing the Troy righthander to throw 66 pitches over the final three innings and loading the bases in the final two frames, but couldn't cash in. A Robertshaw line drive to right-center was tracked down by Troy's Brandon Bush to end a threat in the fifth, Flint tapped out to first base to end a threat in the sixth and, with the bases loaded and nobody out in the seventh, Yamin struck out Ben Rhodes and induced a 6-3 double play from Anthony Noce to end the game.
"It's early in the season. Hopefully, we'll start to get some hits to fall," Spagnola said.
The Rams face Troy in a return meeting Monday at noon at Troy High School, and they're hopeful the second time around will result in Amsterdam's finally putting a check in the win column for 2014.
"I think we'll be fine," Jared Gallup said. "I think we'll come around eventually if we just keep practicing and working hard."
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